The Google Phone app is Google’s closed-source alternative to your Android phone’s stock dialer and other dialing services. Thus far it has primarily been available for Nexus devices, but recently it was discovered that the app was up for grabs on the Play Store, and it would run on pretty much any phone with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Phones that were discovered to be compatible with the dialer included the HTC 10, LG G5, Galaxy S7, OnePlus One, and many more.
Particularly nifty for Google’s alternative is the option to search directly from inside the dialer for businesses and contacts. You can also send visual voicemail, block calls, and search for nearby places. But just as quickly as the app appeared, Google revoked the ability to use it on other phones, sending out a statement to Android Police that the ability to get the app on other phones was a mistake.
The Play Store listing no longer allows installing on any other phones than the Nexus models. In addition, Google has taken measures to prevent the application from being installed on devices without the Nexus label in the future. It has updated the application and effectively blocked sideloading, which is what you usually use to make it possible to install apps not downloaded through the Play Store.
Let this serve as a reminder that, while Google keeps a lot of its software open-source and allows for other developers to get on board, it’s still keen on keeping certain features exclusive to its own brand. But then again, it also appears that the app worked without any major issues on external devices. Dialing apps are perhaps not the most complex ones out there, but at least it’s good to see that they’re keeping the app in good enough shape so that fans could — someday, maybe — get access to the app on other manufacturer’s phones as well.
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